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Judge shopping

Christmas PackagesIt’s just 46 shopping days until Christmas. Have you picked out that special federal judge for that special someone?

There have been over 200 lawsuits filed against Barack Obama’s eligibility to be President. Almost all have been lost. Just a few are still in the courts, and a few losses are still being appealed. Still it’s a pretty dismal picture. Some of the judges have distinguished themselves with pithy sayings like DC Federal District Judge James Robinson, memorably writing:

The issue of the President’s citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America’s vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama’s two-year-campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court.

or the unforgettable reply to Orly Taitz from Judge Clay D. Land in Georgia (Rhodes v. MacDonald):

Unlike in Alice in Wonderland, simply saying something is so does not make it so

Others provide a mini legal education for those who choose to learn, like Judge R. Barclay Surrick’s scholarly explanation of standing in Berg v. Obama.

Judges have striven mightily to make sense of the tangled prose submitted by pro se birther plaintiffs and sometimes by their incompetent attorneys. They do our court system credit.

Most recently was the case of In Re: Douglas Vogt where Vogt filed a lawsuit to try to get a federal judge to convene a grand jury to investigate Barack Obama’s birth certificate, when the FBI and the US Attorney refused him. Seattle judge Robart has issued an order to show cause why he should not dismiss Vogt’s action, an order with no hint of sympathy for Vogt’s cause (sometimes a judge will suggest ways to fix a pleading, but not here). So we can expect within a month or so to see this thing dismissed.

So are we soon to be rid of Vogt’s gambit? Perhaps not. The legal brain (using the term loosely) behind the Vogt legal essay appears to be Montgomery Blair Sibley, a former attorney who has filed several birther cases on his own without success. Sibley, writing at Birther Report:

Thus there remains only 625 people – the judges of the federal district courts – that have the authority to call a Grand Jury to hear the allegations of Obama’s ineligibility. The first to receive that plea or – poetically, volley – in this, the last legal battle to be waged over Obama’s eligibility is Judge James L. Robart of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

The key word there is “first,” implying that if one judge refuses, then there are plenty more to submit lengthy computer files of nonsense to. I think Vogt opens himself up to sanctions if he files the same thing over and over again in different courts. Word will get around what he and Sibley are trying to do.

Update: Vogt indeed suggests that he does intend to send his file to all of the judges. On his ObamaForgeryBook web site, he writes:

If the judge in Seattle does not act as he should we intend to mail the complaint to other Judges around the county until we find one Federal Judge that sees what Barack Obama is doing to the country and also wants to get him legally out of office before he destroys the country and turns it into a socialist hell. So if you can contribute to our ends please do so. It will cost $26 to mail the complete filing in color to a Federal Judge. There are over 600 Judges.

Since he does not mention the $350 filing fee, it appears that these will not be filed as lawsuits.

Even if they found a judge who is, along with his staff, so technically incompetent as to think Vogt’s claims are worthy of investigation, there still remain two other insurmountable barriers. Sibley himself admits that no US Attorney is going to act on his claims, and without the consent of the US Attorney, a grand jury cannot issue an indictment and their internal deliberations are by law secret. Even if he convinced a grand jury, no one would ever know. And even if Sibley miraculously got the sign-off from a US Attorney, there is one more insurmountable hurdle: grand juries cannot indict the President while still in office. Impeachment is the only route, and that’s not going to happen either.

So given that the whole scenario is impossible, why do it? I guess it comes from the craving of all derided conspiracy theorists—to have their day in court and to be judged “not crazy.”

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17 Responses to Judge shopping

  1. avatar
    Crustacean November 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    Just finished having my eyeballs assaulted by that screed of Monty Sibley’s posted today over at Birther Report. I had to laugh.

    “Thus there remains only 625 people – the judges of the federal district courts – that have the authority to call a Grand Jury to hear the allegations of Obama’s ineligibility,” rants El Sib.

    My father-in-law is one of those 625 people, and if his attitude is even remotely indicative of how this will be received, our birther pals are in for yet another serving of bitter, cold disappointment. Last time I asked my Honorable Dad-in-Law about the “birther” movement, he barely even knew what I was talking about. He understood what I meant by “birthers” only after I mentioned Donald Trump as an example.

    He wasn’t impressed.

    I also snickered when I imagined the look on his face if he were to ever read something like Vogt’s Manifesto (or whatever the hell that thing is), with all its references to JBIG2-this and unsharp mask-that. The man is one of the wisest people I’ve ever met, but he barely knows how to turn on a computer (that’s what law clerks are for, after all! :))

  2. avatar
    Curious George November 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Once again, a total Birther waste of time.

  3. avatar
    Arthur November 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Doc C. wrote, “Seattle judge Robart has issued an order to show cause why he should not dismiss Vogt’s action . . .” Do judges always issue a show-cause order if they feel a suit is weak, or could the judge simply have dismissed Vogt’s case?

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 8, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    It’s not a matter of the case being weak. A judge dismisses a case when, as a matter of law, it cannot proceed.

    The “lack of jurisdiction is so fundamental a defect that the rule permits a judge to recognize it sua sponte at any time.” Bernstein v. Universal Pictures, Inc., 517 F.2d 976,979 (2d Cir. 1975). I don’t know how often there is an order to show cause like this. I would guess that it’s fairly common, but it is not necessary.

    Arthur: Do judges always issue a show-cause order if they feel a suit is weak, or could the judge simply have dismissed Vogt’s case?

  5. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 8, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Any and all Birther future birther cases will be referred to the honorable Judge Tardar Sauce.
    “NO!”

  6. avatar
    gorefan November 9, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    It always amazes me that each one of these guys is convinced that they’ve figured it out. Their lawsuit will succeed where others have failed. Their approach is so unique the court will just have to hear it because the logic is so impeccable or the evidence is so overwhelming.

    “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

  7. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 9, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    gorefan:
    It always amazes me that each one of these guys is convinced that they’ve figured it out.Their lawsuit will succeed where others have failed.

    Yeah, there’s optimism, and then there’s blind stupidity!
    Reminds me of the dumb mooks from the anime Fist of the North Star.
    “Yeah Mr perfect hair just killed hundreds of us with his bare hands, in about 20 seconds, but surely I’ll somehow succeed where the last 399 guys died horribly! Nameless me, and this wooden stick! Yeah!”

  8. avatar
    aarrgghh November 9, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    gorefan: It always amazes me that each one of these guys is convinced that they’ve figured it out.Their lawsuit will succeed where others have failed. Their approach is so unique the court will just have to hear it because the logic is so impeccable or the evidence is so overwhelming.

    because the brazen crimes of the least transparent and the most mysterious totus in the history of the universe are so transparently self-evident, there MUST exist a legal or political procedure or incantation that is designed to erase such an insufferable blight from the national stage — before everything our founding fathers fought and died for is destroyed. all we are seeing is a simple process of elimination. no approach can be judged as too esoteric, no strategery so downright idiotic, to not run with at least a dozen times. as such, victory is inevitable, as long as gifted and tireless patriots like orly taitz, mike zullo, and today, hero of the month doug vogt, never ever give up the fight. [trumpets and fireworks]

    (oh god, writing that gets me all verklempt every time. please, talk amongst y’selves.)

  9. avatar
    Joey November 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Arthur:
    Doc C. wrote, “Seattle judge Robart has issued an order to show cause why he should not dismiss Vogt’s action . . .” Do judges always issue a show-cause order if they feel a suit is weak, or could the judge simply have dismissed Vogt’s case?

    A “show cause order” is a judge’s way of demonstrating impartiality and objectivity. It is giving a party to a court action the opportunity to convince the judge that there is more to the party’s legal argument than meets the eye.
    In one of the only judicial “victories????” for the birthers, Mario Apuzzo was able to convince a three judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that he did not deserve sanctions and the assessment of court costs for filing a frivolous lawsuit in Kerchner v. Obama by filing a 95 page response to a show cause order from the Court.

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    I think that in this case the OSC was the punishment.

    Joey: In one of the only judicial “victories????” for the birthers, Mario Apuzzo was able to convince a three judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that he did not deserve sanctions and the assessment of court costs for filing a frivolous lawsuit in Kerchner v. Obama by filing a 95 page response to a show cause order from the Court.

  11. avatar
    Joey November 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I think that in this case the OSC was the punishment.

    Yeah, I hear ya. Mario spun it as a “victory.” That’s how desperate the birthers are for any judicial crumb that is thrown their way. “I didn’t get sanctioned!” YIPPEE!

  12. avatar
    gorefan November 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: Yeah, there’s optimism, and then there’s blind stupidity!

    It’s arrogance born of ignorance and delusion.

  13. avatar
    realist November 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    One other little tidbit from “bob” at Fogbow

    by bob Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:37 pm
    I haz a confused about Vogt/Sibley’s strateregy: There are 94 federal judicial districts. If Vogt/Sibley throw paper at the judges as individuals, there will be no public record of them doing so. They might as well wonder barefoot through the halls of Congress.

    If they attempt to file their “claims” with the court (as Vogt has done with this “case”), it’ll automatically be low-numbered to the first assigned judge. The other 531 judges will never see this dreck.

    http://www.thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=10288&p=562132#p562132

  14. avatar
    ZixiOfIx November 10, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    gorefan:
    It always amazes me that each one of these guys is convinced that they’ve figured it out.Their lawsuit will succeed where others have failed. Their approach is so unique the court will just have to hear it because the logic is so impeccable or the evidence is so overwhelming.

    Many of these guys (and gals) aren’t really convinced that they’ve figured out a way to succeed legally where others have failed miserably.

    They have found a way to make money and get attention, which is undoubtedly invaluable when you’re only perhaps marginally successful as an attorney to begin with.

    “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

    “A man’s got to know his limitations Paypal account number.”

  15. avatar
    RanTalbott November 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Joey: “I didn’t get sanctioned!” YIPPEE!

    They’re taking a cue from the pilots: Any lawsuit you can walk away from (unscathed) is a good one.

  16. avatar
    The Magic M November 11, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    gorefan: It always amazes me that each one of these guys is convinced that they’ve figured it out. Their lawsuit will succeed where others have failed.

    There’s still the “one honest judge” hope.

    gorefan: Their approach is so unique the court will just have to hear it because the logic is so impeccable or the evidence is so overwhelming.

    I think many of them actually realize that a court cannot do anything by following the law. That’s why Orly uses her “national emergency” rhethoric so often, it’s the belief they need to find a judge who is going to go above and beyond the law.
    Just like they themselves love to ignore the law and the Constitution when it gets in their way, they dream there’s one judge who’ll go “OK, I’ll ignore the law and allow you to go on because I know that’s the only way we’ll beat the usurper”.

    What I don’t understand is that after 200+ cases failing mostly on standing, they still don’t even try to argue particularized injury. (Even some of the “strategies” birthers themselves love to trumpet in the comments, like “stop paying taxes and when they take you to court, argue you’re not obliged because usurper”, are obviously not the kind of stuff they like to try themselves – it’s always “let others go first”…)
    That’s the problem with cranks, they are unable to take even the simplest cues.

  17. avatar
    Kiwiwriter November 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    I guess the purpose of this latest idiotic lawsuit is to enhance their role as martyrs, generate publicity, and above all….stir up donations.